Through the hard times, we often rely on our friends and family to help us through. They serve as our emotional support and encourage us, lift our spirits, motivate us and give us affirmations that we are good enough and we can do it. They remind us of our worth, our value, and our strength. They give us strength too. Sometimes our significant other does that for us as well.
But what if no one is around us? What if we don’t have friends or family around us?
****** What if we are alone? ******
There are times, I believe, in all our lives, when we look around us in our darkest moments and realize that we are, in fact, alone. Most of us, in an effort to “get by”, would fill our time with distractions like social media, TV, or other hobbies and activities – anything to not feel alone. The distractions make our “alone time” pass by so it doesn’t feel so lonely.
Recently I was faced with a significant loss that threw me into an unexpected depression. I was devastated. I had my children around most the time, work, dogs to care for, a house to clean, and of course, dancing, writing, golf, yoga, and a ton of other activities as my hobby to keep me busy. But when the children weren’t around, and I finished my work, I was again faced with the feeling of being alone.
But this time it was different. Something inside of me was curious as to what it would feel like to befriend myself in my moment of sadness. So I started talking to myself. Not out loud sounding like a crazy person, and not without intention, but simply just asking myself, almost like an inquiry, questions like, “how are you feeling right now?”, “why do you feel that way?”, and “what do you wanna do?”
Being alone with myself in those moments, really digging into what it was I was feeling, needing, desiring, believing, thinking, and deceiving myself about, helped me understand myself a bit more.
It was as if I was getting to know a new friend. You see, when we make new friends, we initially ask them lots of questions with the intention of getting to know them. We’re curious as to who they are, and what they think. Ideally, the more time we spend with them, the more we like them; the more time we want to spend with them, and the more we find we enjoy their company.
My goal was just that: To spend more time with myself until I really liked being in my own company. But this “time” wasn’t the large amounts of time I already had driving my 2-hour (one way) commute to work, nor the 20-minute dog walks (twice per day), nor the 30-minute jogs; it had to be time that I deliberately and intentionally set aside to sit alone, with myself, without any distractions, and just BE present.
In my dark and lonely moments, I leaned into the pain, embraced it, and desperately tried to make friends with it. Who are you? What are you trying to tell me? What am I not hearing? What are you afraid of? Why are you intent on believing that? What’s your ultimate purpose in all of this? OK then, if you’re intent on being here for a while, let’s at least become good friends!!
I asked myself questions, I hugged myself, I pat my own head. I tried to think, “if my best friend were going through this, or feeling this way, what would I say to her or do for her to help her feel better, or more loved, or at peace?” And so for the next two months, I set aside 15-30 minutes every day to just sit with myself, alone, and get to know “me”. I was determined to learn how to be a good friend…No… a BEST FRIEND…to myself.
But… as with any relationship, it required that I be completely honest and vulnerable as well. Being honest with myself was hard. I found myself making excuses for my behavior or thoughts. I found myself trying to blame others, make them the “bad guy” and even deceive myself into believing one thing, as opposed to reality. I found myself justifying my behavior.
Slowly, layers of myself began to come off and I saw things I absolutely hated about myself. But I also saw things I loved about myself.
While it’s only been a short romance, I think I’ve finally found “the one”, and that person was me. The person that desired to be loved, accepted, heard, understood, and embraced fully was ME this whole time.
There’s something magical that happens with being alone. It’s a magic you can only find through experience. And it’s an experience that leaves you feeling completely surrounded by unconditional love, strength, motivation, and contentment. It melts away your insecurities and fills you with joy and confidence.
Suddenly, all the needs and attachments we place on others disappears, because we know we have all we need and want within ourselves. We finally see others in our lives as simply icing on the cake, rather than the vital ingredients that we’re made of. We see ourselves as whole and complete AS IS. We come to realize that everything we need is right here, within us, right NOW.
Everything, right now, is perfect, just as it is. We take it one day at a time. And because we are “the one” we’ve been searching for all this time, the entrance of new people in our lives is simply an opportunity to love, and the loss of people in our lives is simply a reminder of how much we have loved. We move forward, courageously, bravely, and confidently, continuing to love, because we realize that LOVE is who we are. It was never something we needed to get or receive from another person. It is who we ARE and who we will always BE. And there is nothing greater or more fulfilling then feeling free to be who we really are.